I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles north of Philadelphia (mid-Zone 6 to lower Zone 7, depending on whose map you use). Under the supervision of my two alpacas, Duncan and Daniel, I garden here at Hayefield on four acres in full sun: about two acres of managed meadow, one acre of pasture, and one acre of intensively planted garden and open shrubbery areas. This garden is entering its 13th year in 2014.
My previous place, a bit north of here, was just a fifth of an acre, and mostly shaded. Besides the garden and greenhouse, it was home to Pendragon Perennials, a tiny rare-plant nursery that I started in 1995 and closed in 2000, when I ran out of gardening space and sold that house.
I’ve had a lifelong love of plants, but it didn’t develop into a full-blown obsession until my late teens. I earned a B.S. degree in Agronomy and Environmental Science from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (spending the summers working as a gardener on various estates in the Philadelphia area), then ended up at Rodale Press Garden Books. After five years, I left there in 1995 to work as a freelance garden-book writer and editor.
I consider myself an equal-opportunity plant geek, but my current “thing” is colored foliage (specifically, variegated and chartreuse leaves). And ornamental grasses. And meadows. And herbs. And vegetables. Oh, and shrubs, too. And annuals, of course. Um…just about all kinds of outdoors plants, actually. I also enjoy raising plants from seed. That’s how I ended up starting a nursery at my last place. (When you’re growing from seed, it’s just as easy to pot up three dozen seedlings as it is to pot up three, you know.) Here, I’m never at a loss for places to put new plants.
Below are Amazon links to some of the books I’ve written; a more complete list is available here. If you have any questions about my writings or images, feel free to e-mail me at nan (at) hayefield (dot) com. Please note that Hayefield is a private garden and not open for public tours.
Photo at top by Rob Cardillo.